Geraldine Guardian

Extract from “The Geraldine Guardian” 29 January 1910 shows
Two Golden Weddings

It is not often that any town in New Zealand has the privilege of celebrating two golden weddings on one night and in circumstances so unique as those on Wednesday night (1) in the Oddfellows’ Hall, Geraldine. The occasion was the celebration of the fifty years wedlock of Mr and Mrs John Pye, Geraldine and Mr and Mrs Wm. Patrick, Gapes’ Valley. Fifty years ago that day Mr and Mrs Pye were united in Devonport, England, and on the same date Mr and Mrs Patrick were joining hands in the sea of life away up in Bonnie Scotland, amongst the heather and the Scottish bluebells. Mr Pye was saying he was the most fortunate man in the world because he had secured the cream of the Devonshire lassie and Mr Patrick was pluming himself on leading to the altar the bonniest lassie of the “toon”. This was what was happening half a century ago, and on Wednesday night (1) the same couples were seated at a wedding breakfast in Geraldine, surrounded by over a hundred of their relatives and descendants. In both cases the happy couples landed here with few friends and relatives, and now they each have quite a little community of their own. As time went on the two families commingled, and one of Mr Pye’s sons married one of Mr Patrick’s daughters (2), an event which not only brought the two families closer together, but added seven more members (3) to the large community they were getting about them. Mr and Mrs Pye at the present time have three sons (4) and two daughters (5) alive, twenty–seven grandchildren, two great grand children, two sons–in–law, and two daughters–in–law.

They arrived in Geraldine in ’74 (6) with five children. Mr Pye worked for seven years at Tripp’s, and then started a nursery garden on the Geraldine downs, from which he retired about ten years ago. All Mr Pye’s family were present at the golden wedding except one, who was unable to leave his work. Mr and Mrs Patrick arrived at Lyttleton nearly fifty years ago. They lived on the Peninsula for six years, and then came to the Geraldine district, taking up a farm at Gapes’ Valley in ’66 (7), where they have lived ever since. They had a family of fourteen, of which thirteen are still alive, viz., eight sons and six daughters. They have forty four grandchildren, and four great grand children. The country has much to thank these sturdy old settlers for, and at a time like the present it was little wonder that relatives from far and near, who had not seen Geraldine for years gathered to do honour to the two old couples. The hall for the occasion was tastefully decorated with evergreens etc, and a substantial wedding breakfast was provided. Mr C. Pye (8) presided, with the happy couples on his right and left and the orthodox wedding cake in front of him. After the breakfast the usual speech making took place and toasts were duly honoured.

Mr C. Pye (8) said they had met to celebrate the golden weddings of two aged and honoured friends and relatives, who had experienced a long term of successful married life and were desirous of getting a renewal of their lease which he was sure they were all prepared to grant without any cropping restrictions, seeing that they had been true and faithful to their previous wedding pledges, and had carried out the injunction to multiply and replenish the earth. This was evidenced by the numerous descendants down to the third and fourth generations present that night. The families were well represented, but several were prevented through harvest operations. Of those present, however, many had come long distances, and it was not likely that they would all meet again in such favourable circumstances. He now asked them all to charge their glasses and drink to the healths of Mr and Mrs John Pye, who had landed here many years ago, and had engaged in much pioneer work when things were not so smooth as they were now, but who by their own energy and careful use of what they got were able to take things easier in their old age. He wished them long life, and may they long be spared to enjoy their well–earned rest. (Applause) The healths were drunk with musical honours, Mr J. S. Pye (9) officiating at the piano.

Mr G. J. Wreathall felt it an honour to be called upon to propose the healths of Mr and Mrs W. Patrick. He had been a neighbour of theirs for twenty–five years, and had always found them all that a neighbour should be. No doubt in the early days they had gone through the rough times, but with the easier days which had come now, they had not lost their good qualities as neighbours, but were as hospitable as ever they were. One thing they were fully deserving of was a long and happy life with many years to welcome their family and strangers to their board as they had done in the old days. The healths of Mr and Mrs Patrick were also drunk with musical honours.

Mr Wreathall then on behalf of the sons and daughters of the old couple, presented them with a well–filled purse of sovereigns as a tribute of their affection. Mrs Patrick, to whom the purse was handed, thanked the company for their good wishes and remarked that the purse was “like a wee stocking” and she had better hang on to it while she had it or her good man might get prying into it. (Laughter).

Mr John Pye, in thanking his family and the company for their good wishes gave reminiscences of the early days in Geraldine. Fifty years ago there was a house near the upper bridge, and one down by the stone bridge and three big pubs doing a big business. Now the town was well–filled with buildings, and the hotels were like three old dry cows. (Laughter). There were to–day only twelve people in Geraldine who were here when he first came so that he would soon be the oldest man in the place. He was one of the oldest Oddfellows, and he was one of the six who first started the flower show at Geraldine. At the close of his remarks Mr Pye had to submit to a perfect deluge of rice thrown by his numerous descendants and friends.

Mr J. Bagrie (10) proposed the healths of the first generation of the Pye family and as a son–in–law said he had never met a family anywhere who were so agreeable. He had never seen the slightest friction between any of them, and when they met they were warm–hearted, and all that brothers and sisters should be. In some families there was always one at least who made things unpleasant for the rest, but it was not so in this case.

Mr J. S. Pye (9) proposed the grandchildren and the great grandchildren of the Pye family. As he was the oldest grandchild he was proposing his own health, but he had been called upon to do it and had to carry out his duty. He wished his grandparents and all the descendants a long and happy life together.


  • (1) Wednesday’s date was 26 January 1910
  • (2) William Willcocks Pye married Elizabeth Harvey Patrick in 1890
  • (3) Children:
    • James Harvey Pye b: 1891
    • William Webber Pye b: 1893
    • John Maxton Pye b: 1896
    • Winnie Miller Pye b: 1899
    • Jennie Alma Pye b: 1902
    • Elsie Maud Pye b: 1905
    • Roy Wilcox Pye b: 1907
    • note: Mary Mabel/Matel Pye not mentioned as b: 1897, d: 1898
  • (4) Charles Pye b: 1863
    • John Pye b: 1864
    • William Willcocks Pye b:1869
    • James Willcocks Pye b: 1862 d:3 April1902
  • (5) Ellen Mary Pye b:1867?
    • Jane Pye b: 1882 in NZ
  • (6) 1874
  • (7) 1866
  • (8) Charles Pye b: 1845 (brother to John)
  • (9) John Shannon Pye
  • (10) James Roy Bagrie (son–in–law) married to Jane Pye